We Are a Mission Driven Congregation
Pastor's Monthly Newsletter Article for September, 2012
Part 3; of a 7-Month Series on the Core Commitments of Saint Peter Lutheran Church
A friend of mine used to dress up as an old-west style cowboy, and preach a sermon that lifted up the distinction between being a “settler church” and a “pioneer church.” A settler church is one that builds a good wall around the compound and takes care of those who are inside. A pioneer church is one that heads out into the unknown, to connect with whomever or whatever is there. One of my favorite lines from his sermon was always this one: “When you put a doormat out in front of your church will it say Welcome, or Please Wipe Your Feet?
Put differently, the choice is between being a maintenance driven church (“We are going to maintain what we have, no matter what it costs us.”) and being a mission driven church (“We are going to go where God calls us, no matter what it costs us.”)
What do we need to do at Saint Peter to make sure our doormat says Welcome?
That sounds like a complicated question, but in reality it is a fairly simple question. The answer to the question isn’t easy, of course, but it is simple: we need to stay focused on our mission in everything we do. We need to strive to make sure that every decision we make, every dollar we invest, every ministry we sponsor, every policy we establish 1) helps someone experience that they are welcomed into God’s love just as they are, and/or 2) helps someone discover how God is sending them into the world as a reflection of Christ’s love.
It isn’t always easy to be a mission driven congregation. We are tempted, from time to time, to let other factors determine what we do (What have we always done? Will it cost too much? Will it be too hard? Will some people disagree?). But the mission driven congregation learns to set those concerns aside, and focus exclusively on what God is calling us to be and to do.
In what ways does our stated mission (“Welcomed and Sent”) influence what you believe it means to be a Christian congregation in the metro-Denver area? What investment are you willing to make to ensure that we are successful? What would indicate to you that we are doing well at what God has called us to be about? I’d love to hear from you.
God’s peace to you all, Pastor Dave
Themes for the coming months are: “We Are Committed to 'Permission Giving' in All that We Do” (Oct.); “Our Supporters Are Involved on a 'Gifts Based' Basis” (Nov.); “We Are Prayer-Centered” (Dec.); “Our Lives Revolve around Discipleship” (Jan.)